Though the statistic is only around 1% of military men and women, military desertions are on the rise.  Some deserters cite homesickness or dissatisfaction among their motives for leaving their posts.  Apparently, military life is hard.

Marc Mulholland, 21 of Melbourne Beach, was recently arrested for desertion.  He first went AWOL a year after enlisting at 18, citing his reason as dissatisfaction with the way the military treated him and forced him to train after a hernia operation.  He was awaiting discharge and working with a construction crew when he was recently arrested in Brevard County.  He continues to insist he is not a coward and that people who know him will attest to that fact; he simply does not like the way military life works.

According to recent studies, more than half of deserters leave their posts after less than a year of service.  Most deserters have less than three years under their belts.  These studies also show that more desertions occur during wartime. 

What goes through the mind of a new recruit?  What do they expect from serving in the military?  A chance to see the world?  A way to pay for a college education?  What of those who enlist during wartime, meaning anyone who enlisted within the last five years, such as Mr. Mulholland?  Do they not expect hardship, or are they only focused on the adventure?  Does it become too real for them, too uncomfortable and unlike their homelives?  In this age of instant satisfaction, do they simply give up when it gets too hard?  Isn’t that the opposite of what a soldier is supposed to be?

And why become a deserter?  If you talk to superiors about quitting, giving it up, can’t you get yourself dishonorably discharged?  As a deserter, being discharged is only one of many possible fates, including military trials and adminastrative penalties.  Why take the risk of abandoning your post?  The military is a solid, long-term commitment.  It’s hard.  It’s grueling.  It’s uncomfortable.  It’s work.  It’s war. 

You can read about Mulholland and desertion statistics here:

http://www.floridatoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070617/BREAKINGNEWS/70617008/1086/rss07

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2007-04-10-2320292082_x.htm

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